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Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching! What better way to celebrate than with chocolate?
This year, why not skip store-bought, sugar-loaded chocolates and opt to make your own?
I created these Cacao Almond Butter Cups to satisfy the sweetest tooth. I’ve made them with and without honey. Sometimes I want the rich, bitter taste of chocolate without any sweetness, and sometimes I want a touch of added sweet. They’re great both ways. Make them how you want.
Made with 100% raw cacao nibs, these bad boys have many amazing, heart-happy benefits. Read on to discover a few of them.
Cacao can improve your mood. Cacao contains the neurotransmitter Anandamide, also called the ‘Bliss Molecule’ that stimulates a sense of euphoria in the body. Cacao also aids in relieving PMS symptoms for women by bumping up serotonin in the brain.
Cacao can be used as an aphrodisiac. Another mood-boosting compound found in cacao is phenethylamine (PEA), which triggers endorphin release and pleasant opium-like neurochemicals. Cacao can also boost libido, which is why giving chocolate on Valentine’s Day is so popular!
Cacao can protect the heart. Flavanols in raw cacao are anti-inflammatory and heart protective antioxidants that may protect against cardiovascular disease, help improve blood circulation, and reduce the risk of stroke.
Resource: Daily Superfood Love
After hearing a few benefits of cacao, you’re probably ready to make a delicious chocolate treat out of it! Make these holistic treats for you, and share them with those you love. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Cacao Almond Butter Cups
Makes 8 cups
- 1 bag 100% raw cacao chips
- 1 T coconut oil
- 1 cup almond butter (more if desired)
- Himalayan sea salt
- 2 tablespoons honey (optional – if using, mix into the almond butter before assembling the cups)
- Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- In a small pot, melt the cacao nibs and coconut oil over low heat on the stove.
- Spoon about 1/2 inch of the melted cacao/coconut oil into the muffin cups. Freeze for 5-10 mins.
- Once set, spoon a layer of almond butter over the chocolate. Again, set in freezer for 5-10 mins.
- Once set, pour final layer of melted cacao/coconut over the top. Top with sea salt. Set back in the freezer for 20-30 mins.
- Once all layers are completely solid, eat!
Kelly Pender is an admissions counselor at Nutrition Therapy Institute. She is also a Registered Yoga Instructor and leads monthly Yoga workshops & Yoga Retreats worldwide. Learn more at kellypender.com. And follow her journey @kellypenderyoga
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